“The Walworth Farce” presented by New Century Theatre

In a dingy little theatre on Capitol Hill, the audience sits on funky chairs waiting for the play to begin. The lights dim; a woman pulls back curtains hung on what looks like a long shower rod to reveal a shabby apartment with decrepit furniture and too many locks on the door.

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Peter Crook, Peter Dylan O’Connor, and Darragh Kennan in The Walworth Farce. Photo by Chris Bennion

An older man splayed in a ratty chair listens to Irish music, while a younger man in his jockies irons a colorful fabric that turns out to be a skirt he promptly puts on. Another young man unloads a bag of groceries. And then the magic begins, begins in an environment that is perfect for it!

You won’t find out from me any plot details because to tell you would spoil the “Ah ha!” moment when you begin to understand the grim game played out on this stage. And oh how well it plays. The acting here is brilliant. Directed by John Kazanjian, actors Peter Crook, Darragh Kennan, and Peter Dylan O’Connor (and in the second act Allison Strickland) are fiercely into their roles.

Watch their faces. Of course the actors talking are intense, but so are the cast members watching them, listening to every word, anticipating what will next be said, gesticulating, building emotional bombshells in response.

This is not a pretty tale. Award winning playwright Enda Walsh (“Disco Pigs” and “Once” are his) has crafted a funny but gruesome family chronicle that grabs you and never lets go. And this cast plays it for all it’s worth. It’s not a theatrical event for those who thought “The Sound of Music” was a theatrical zenith. This is for theatregoers who love the many dimensions of absurdity, and relish the way theatre can work on their minds and generate complex emotions.

There are only 49 seats in this theatre, get one before the run is sold out. And get there early, as parking is a challenge.

Through Oct. 27 at the New City Theatre, 1404 18th Ave., Seattle (www.wearenctc.org/).

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